Sunday, June 08, 2014

Colorado landslides expected to be on rise in this wet year

The massive, deadly landslide on the Grand Mesa has turned new attention to the unpredictable nature of the state's mountainous terrain in a year expected to see much more soil, rock and mud tumbling down across Colorado. Higher-than-average snowpack, climbing temperatures, and an increase in the wet and wild rainstorms called microbursts are saturating slopes and taking the brakes off masses of unstable soils. "Right now, we are in a cycle of dangerous landslides," said Jeff Coe, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "It's not a question of if; it's when there will be more." Coe, who is monitoring the Grand Mesa slide, said approximately 1,300 slides have occurred in Colorado in the past eight months. Some are so small and in such remote places that they are barely noticed...more

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